SAMPLE Zoom-session PowerPoint slides
SAMPLE Common App essay before and after guidance
SAMPLE feedback on practice essays
Throughout the body of each ACT or SAT practice essay that I review over the course of 30 MINUTES, I provide detailed suggestions. Then I add a SUMMARY COMMENT AND SCORES like these SAMPLES FROM FOUR ACT ESSAYS:
"Good first try, but your essay was too short to have a chance of earning scores above 3 (you wrote about 250 words, whereas 400 is the minimum that most scorers are looking for). Also, while much of your argument was convincing, some of your thoughts weren't expressed clearly enough, and your overuse of the phrase 'the idea of' dragged down the level of your writing further. Finally, try to do a better job avoiding common mistakes such as missing/misplaced apostrophes, 'affect' vs. 'effect', and random capitalization. Again, nice start :-)"
Scores = 3 out of 6
"Solid first essay. You're a proficient writer and a strong critical thinker—not a bad combination :-) You also appear to have an excellent knack for presenting examples to illustrate your thinking. Next time, though, try to develop your reasoning more, devoting less space to evidence that doesn't advance your argument. Don't let examples dominate the essay; their purpose is to reinforce your larger point. And reserve 'I' for relating personal experiences. Better yet, avoid 'I' altogether by converting personal examples into hypothetical ones (check back with me if you're not sure how to do that)."
Scores = 4 out of 6
"I enjoyed reading this. You presented a convincing point of view, although I can't help but worry about the out-of-control robot you referenced in paragraph two :-) In any event, you have a nicely fluid writing style and a strong vocabulary. Just make sure that every paragraph connects clearly to your thesis (see end of paragraph three). Also, for the sake of variety, try to mix in a few long sentences to break up the monotonous rhythm of too many short ones. Finally, because of your small handwriting, consider using a larger 'font'—it could help raise your score by creating the perception of greater length."
Scores = 4 out of 6
"Terrific ideas, well expressed. Your argument, however, wasn't organized tightly enough. You have the brainpower and writing skills to earn top scores, but you're less likely to reach them if you don't spend more time planning the structure of your essay. It would make sense, therefore, to jot down your thesis statement on the planning page, followed by a few words summarizing what you'll talk about in each body paragraph. Keep in mind that when the ACT organization added the planning page in 2015, they also added time to the test to allow you to make use of that page."
Scores = 5 out of 6